Legal Issues Affecting Michigan Tenants
Proposed new law
In November 2013, a new bill was put forward seeking to make changes to Michigan’s housing laws. According to proposed amendments, tenants could be held financially responsible for violating state cleanliness and public welfare standards. Under the current system, landlords are required to pay fines for these breaches, but under the bill, each city’s Community Standards Unit would notify occupants of violations. These breaches include leaving upholstered couches on the porch (which constitutes a fire hazard), neglecting overgrown grass, allowing garbage to accumulate in the yard or areas connected to the dwelling, or parking in the yard.
Other legal basics for tenants
Under a lease, the landlord and tenant are obligated for a set time period, usually a year. As a tenant, you are legally required to pay the monthly rent even when you do not continue to reside in the rental property, although your lawyers can advise you about various exceptions to this rule. Unless the lease provides for changes midterm, a landlord cannot usually increase the rent or introduce other charges until the lease has expired and a new one is being negotiated.
When you are a tenant, your landlord cannot insist that you leave before the lease ends unless you have violated the terms of the agreement, such as failing to pay your rent or committing other serious breaches (e.g., causing noisy disturbances or creating continual and serious health hazards).
Even when tenant obligations are not met
Even when tenants have fallen foul of their obligations, the law offers them some protection by imposing procedures on landlords who seek to end their tenancy. For example, if you have refused or failed to pay your rent, your landlord is required to give you seven-days notice to pay or leave before seeking to terminate the lease by filing an eviction lawsuit. The same notice period applies in Michigan when a landlord imposes an unconditional notice to quit on a tenant who has caused a serious health hazard or damage to the property.
If you are a landlord or tenant seeking advice in relation to your rights, contact our experienced real estate lawyers at The Van Den Heuvel Law Office.